Undoing Ontario Place

Location: Toronto, CATimeline: 2020Type: Academic - UBC SALA * Design Competition Entry

In light of the provincial government's controversial plans for the site, The Future of Ontario Place project launched a call for counterproposals in September 2020.

Figuring there would be no shortage of elegant preservation projects among the final submissions, we took a different tack... radically transformative, seemingly unsentimental, yet deeply inspired by the fundamentals of the site.

First we introduced a new layer of rubble to the islands, exposing the constructed nature of the archipelago and forming new connections to the mainland. Drawing on the nearby Leslie St. Spit as proof of concept, we imagined rubble as a hotbed of biodiversity, enriching the existing ecosystem.

Then we reworked the buildings. The glazed "pods", presently underused, were skinned and left as skeletons - inhabitable ruins. The amphitheater was rebuilt, channeling the spirit of the original simpler design. The collections of hut-like structures were cast in concrete, becoming strangely geometric landforms. Key buildings like the cinesphere were preserved as diamonds in the rough.

Finally we inserted a new armature of circulation in the form of a multifunctional elevated path - expanding access and bringing an adventurous sense of movement to the landscape.

Design team: Alex Willms * Chris BoniExternal consultant: Sneha SumanthRenderings by AJW

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